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Air Products’ withdrawal hits EfW application

Bilsthorpe EfW Peel Environmental

A planning application for an energy-from-waste (EfW) plant has been hit by the recent withdrawal of Air Products from the sector.

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200 MRW exclusive

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has delayed its decision on Peel Environmental’s Bilsthorpe Energy Centre because of concerns that its 95,000 tonnes a year plasma gasification plant uses similar technology to Air Products’ Tees Valley facilities, scrapped on 4 April.

The DCLG has now invited stakeholders to comment on any implications that Air Products’ withdrawal could have for the Nottinghamshire site (pictured) so that communities secretary Greg Clark can make a “fully informed” decision.

A letter from Clark on 12 April asserts that the delay “should not be read as any indication as to his attitude to the appeal proposal”.

“It has very recently been drawn to [Clark’s] attention that Air Products announced on 4 April that it is exiting from its EfW business as it has failed to overcome the technological difficulties, and has abandoned its Tees Valley plasma and gasification plants due to ’design and operational challenges’.

“In view of this announcement by Air Products, and the fact that it was not disputed at the inquiry that the Bilsthorpe Energy Centre would use the same technology, the secretary of state considers it appropriate to give the parties to the Bilsthorpe case an opportunity to comment on any implications which the reasons leading to this announcement might have for the Bilsthorpe scheme as currently proposed.”

Recipients of the letter have until 26 April to make comments, with Clark making his decision “as soon as possible” after that.

A DCLG spokesman later confirmed to MRW: “We have received new evidence concerning this case which we must give due consideration and all parties the opportunity to comment. A decision will be issued in due course.”

The application was called in by previous DCLG secretary Eric Pickles in December 2014.

Air Products announced it was quitting the EfW sector on 4 April, pulling the plug on its two gasification facilities on Teesside.

A statement from the company’s base in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, said that leaving the sector would cost between $900m and $1bn (£700m) in writing down its EfW assets.

The initial facility in the north-east, TV1, was expected to be completed this year while the identical plant TV2, still partially complete, was mothballed in November because development of TV1 was taking longer than expected.

Readers' comments (1)

  • The Bilsthorpe facility is proposed to use an even more experimental variation of the plasma gasification technology that Air Products failed to get to work in Tees Valley. How much more money do Waste2Tricity and Peel intend to squander on this unwanted and unnecessary proposal before they follow Air Product's lead and give up on this failed technology?

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